Frederick W. Robertson

Sermon 17

The Message of the Church to Men of Wealth

Preached June 15, 1851

  Frederick W. Robertson

“And Nabal answered David’s servants, and said, Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? There be many servants nowadays that break away every man from his master. Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men, whom I know not whence they be?” - I Samuel 25:10,11.

I have selected this passage for our subject this evening, because it is one of the earliest cases recorded in the Bible in which the interests of the employer and the employed, the man of wealth and the man of work, stood, or seemed to stand, in antagonism to each other.

It was a period in which an old system of things was breaking up, and the new one was not yet established. The patriarchal relationship of tutelage and dependence was gone, and monarchy was not yet in firm existence. Saul was on the throne but his rule was irregular and disputed. Many things were slowly growing up into custom which had not yet the force of law; and the first steps by which custom passes into law from precedent to precedent are often steps at every one of which struggle and resistance must take place.

The history of the chapter is briefly this: Nabal, the wealthy sheep-master, fed his flocks in the pastures of Carmel. David was leader of a band of men who got their living by the sword on the same hills: outlaws, whose excesses he in some degree restrained, and over whom he retained a leader’s influence. A rude irregular honor was not unknown among those fierce men. They honorably abstained from injuring Nabal’s flocks. They did more: they protected them from all harm against the marauders of the neighborhood. By the confession of Nabal’s own herdsmen, “they were a wall unto them both by night and day, all the time they were with them keeping their flocks.”

And thus a kind of right grew up: irregular enough, but sufficient to establish a claim on Nabal for remuneration of these services; a new claim, not admitted by him: reckoned by him an exaction, which could be enforced by no law: only by that law which is above all statute - law, deciding according to emergencies - an indefinable instinctive sense of fairness and justice. But as there was no law, and each man was to himself a law, and the sole arbiter of his own rights, what help was there but that disputes should rise between the wealthy proprietors and their self-constituted champions, with exaction and tyranny on the one side, churlishness and parsimony on the other? Hence a fruitful and ever-fresh source of struggle: the one class struggling to take as much, and the other to give as little as possible. In modern language, the Rights of Labor were in conflict with the Rights of Property.

The story proceeds thus: David presented a demand, moderate and courteous enough (vs. 6, 7, 8). It was refused by Nabal, and added to the refusal were those insulting taunts of low birth and outcast condition which are worse than injury, and sting, making men’s blood run fire. One court of appeal was left. There remained nothing but the trial by force. “Gird ye on,” said David, “every man his sword.”

Now observe the fearful, hopeless character of this struggle:. The question had come to this: whether David, with his ferocious and needy six hundred mountaineers, united by the sense of wrong, or Nabal, with his well-fed and trained hirelings, bound by interest and not by love to his cause, were stronger? Which was the more powerful - want whetted by insult, or selfishness pampered by abundance; they who wished to keep by force, or they who wished to take? An awful and uncertain spectacle, but the spectacle which is exhibited in every country where rights are keenly felt, and duties lightly regarded - where insolent demand is met by insulting defiance. Wherever classes are held apart by rivalry and selfishness, instead of drawn together by the law of love - wherever there has not been established a kingdom of heaven, but only a kingdom of the world - there exist the forces of inevitable collision.


I. The causes of this false social state.

II. The message of the Church to the man of wealth.


I. False basis on which social superiority was held to rest.

Throughout Nabal’s conduct was built upon the assumption of his own superiority. He was a man of wealth. David was dependent on his own daily efforts. Was not that enough to settle the question of superiority and inferiority? It was enough on both sides for a long time, till the falsehood of the assumption became palpable and intolerable. But palpable and intolerable it did become at last.

A social falsehood will be borne long, even with considerable inconvenience, until it forces itself obtrusively on men’s attention, and can be endured no longer. The exact point at which this social falsehood, that wealth constitutes superiority, and has a right to the subordination of inferiors, becomes intolerable, varies according to several circumstances.

The evils of poverty are comparative - they depend on climate. In warm climates, where little food, no fuel, and scanty shelter are required, the sting is scarcely felt till poverty becomes starvation. They depend on contrast. Far above the point where poverty becomes actual famine, it may become unbearable if contrasted strongly with the unnecessary luxury and abundance enjoyed by the classes above. Where all suffer equally, as men and officers suffer in an Arctic voyage, men bear hardship with cheerfulness: but where the suffering weighs heavily on some, and the luxury of enjoyment is out of all proportion monopolized by a few, the point of reaction is reached long before penury has become actual want: or again, when wealth or rank assumes an insulting, domineering character - when contemptuous names for the poor are invented, and become current among the more unfeeling of a wealthy class - then the falsehood of superiority can be tolerated no longer: for we do not envy honors which are meekly borne, nor wealth which is unostentatious.

Now it was this which brought matters to a crisis. David had borne poverty long - nay, he and his men had long endured the contrast between their own cavern-homes and beds upon the rock, and Nabal’s comforts. But when Nabal added to this those pungent biting sneers which sink into poor men’s hearts and rankle - which are not forgotten, but come out fresh in the day of retribution - “Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse? There be many servants nowadays that break away every man from his master,” then David began to measure himself with Nabal; not a wiser man - nor a better - nor even a stronger. Who is this Nabal? Intellectually, a fool; morally, a profligate, drowning reason in excess of wine at the annual sheep-shearing; a tyrant over his slaves - overbearing to men who only ask of him their rights. Then rose the question which Nabal had better not have forced men to answer for themselves. By what right does this possessor of wealth lord it over men who are inferior in no one particular?

Now observe two things.

1. An apparent inconsistency in David’s conduct. David had received injury after injury from Saul, and had only forgiven. One injury from Nabal, and David is striding over the hills to revenge his wrong with naked steel. How came this reverence and irreverence to mix together?

We reply. Saul had a claim of authority on David’s allegiance; Nabal only one of rank. Between these the Bible makes a vast difference. It says, The powers which be are ordained of God. But upper and lower, as belonging to difference in property, are fictitious terms: true, if character corresponds with titular superiority; false, if it does not. And such was the difference manifested in the life of the Son of God. To lawful authority, whether Roman, Jewish, or even priestly, He paid deference; but to the titled mark of conventional distinction, none. Rabbi, Rabbi, was no Divine authority. It was not power, a delegated attribute of God - it was only a name. In Saul, therefore, David reverenced one his superior in authority; but in Nabal he only had before him one surpassing him in wealth. And David refused, somewhat too rudely, to acknowledge the bad, great man as his superior: would pay him no reverence, respect, or allegiance whatever. Let us mark that distinction well, so often confused - kings, masters, parents: here is a power ordained of God. Honor it. But wealth, name, title, distinctions, always fictitious, often false and vicious, if you can claim homage for these separate from worth, you confound two things essentially different. Try that by the test of His life. Name the text where Christ claimed reverence for wealth or rank. On the Mount did the Son of Man bow the knee to the majesty of wealth and wrong, or was His Sonship shown in this, that He would not bow down to that as if of God?

2. This great falsehood respecting superior and inferior rested on a truth. There had been a superiority in the wealthy class once. In the patriarchal system wealth and rule had gone together. The father of the family and tribe was the one in whom proprietorship was centred; but the patriarchal system had passed away. Men like Nabal succeeded to the patriarch’s wealth, and expected the subordination which had been yielded to patriarchal character and position; and this when every particular of relationship was altered. Once the patriarch was the protector of his dependents. Now David’s class was independent, and the protectors, rather than the protected: at all events, able to defend themselves. Once the rich man was ruler in virtue of paternal relationship. Now wealth was severed from rule and relationship: a man might be rich, yet neither a ruler, nor a protector, nor a kinsman. And the fallacy of Nabal’s expectation consisted in this, that he demanded for wealth that reverence which had once been due to men who happened to be wealthy.

It is a fallacy in which we are perpetually entangled. We expect reverence for that which was once a symbol of what was reverenced, but is reverenced no longer. Here in England it is common to complain that there is no longer any respect of inferiors towards superiors - that servants were once devoted and grateful, tenants submissive, subjects enthusiastically loyal. But we forget that servants were once protected by their masters, and tenants safe from wrong only through the guardianship of their powerful lords; that thence a personal gratitude grew up; that now they are protected by the law from wrong by a different social system altogether; and that the individual bond of gratitude subsists no longer. We expect that to masters and employers the same reverence and devotedness shall be rendered which were due to them under other circumstances, and for different reasons; as if wealth and rank had ever been the claim to reverence, and not merely the accidents and accompaniments of the claim - as if any thing less sacred than holy ties could purchase sacred feelings - as if the homage of free manhood could be due to gold and name - as if to the mere Nabal-fool who is labeled as worth so much, and whose signature carries with it so much coin, the holiest and most ennobling sensations of the soul, reverence and loyalty, were due by God’s appointment.

No. That patriarchal system has passed forever. No sentimental wailings for the past, no fond regrets for the virtues of a by-gone age, no melancholy, poetical, retrospective antiquarianism can restore it. In Church and State the past is past: and you can no more bring back the blind reverence, than the rude virtues of those days. The day has come in which, if feudal loyalty or patriarchal reverence are to be commanded, they must be won by patriarchal virtues or feudal real superiorities.


II. Cause of this unhealthy social state: A false conception respecting rights.

It would be unjust to Nabal to represent this as an act of willful oppression and conscious injustice. He did what appeared to him fair between man and man. He paid his laborers. Why should he pay any thing beyond stipulated wages?

David’s demand appeared an extravagant and insolent one, provoking unfeigned astonishment and indignation. It was an invasion of his rights. It was a dictation with respect to the employment of that which was his own. “Shall I then take my bread, and my water, and my flesh that I have killed for my shearers, and give it unto men whom I know not whence they be?”

Recollect, too, there was something to be said for Nabal. This view of the irresponsible right of property was not his invention. It was the view probably entertained by all his class. It had descended to him from his parents. They were prescriptive and admitted rights on which he stood. And however false or unjust a prescriptive right may be, however baseless when examined, there is much excuse for those who have inherited and not invented it; for it is hard to see through the falsehood of any system by which we profit, and which is upheld by general consent, especially when good men too uphold it. Rare indeed is that pure-heartedness which sees with eagle glance through conventionalisms. This is a wrong, and I and my own class are the doers of it.

On the other hand, David and his needy followers were not slow to perceive that they had their rights over that property of Nabal’s.

Men on whom wrongs press are the first to feel them, and their cries of pain and indignation are the appointed means of God to direct to their wrongs the attention of society. Very often the fierce and maddened shriek of suffering is the first intimation that a wrong exists at all.

There was no law in Israel to establish David’s claims. This guardianship of Nabal’s flocks was partly a self-constituted thing. No bargain had been made, no sum of reward expressly stipulated. But there is a law besides and above all written law, which gives to written laws their authority, and from which so often as they diverge, it is woe to the framers of the law: for their law must perish, and the Eternal Law unseen will get itself acknowledged as a truth from heaven or a truth from hell - a truth begirt with fire and sword, if they will not read it except so.

In point of fact, David had a right to a share of Nabal’s profits. The harvest was in part David’s harvest, for without David it never could have been reaped. The sheep were in part David’s sheep, for without David not a sheep would have been spared by the marauders of the hills. Not a sheaf of corn was carried to Nabal’s barn, nor a night passed in repose by Nabal’s shepherds, but what told of the share of David in the saving of that sheaf, and the procurement of that repose (not the less real because it was past and unseen). The right which the soldier has by law to his pay, was the right which David had by unwritten law - a right resting on the fact that his services were indispensable for the harvest.

Here, then, is one of the earliest instances of the Rights of Labor coming into collision with the Rights of Property: rights shadowy, undefined, perpetually shifting their boundaries, varying with every case, altering with every age, incapable of being adjusted except rudely by law, and leaving always something which the most subtle and elaborate law can not define, and which in any moment may grow up into a wrong.

Now when it comes to this, Rights against Rights, there is no determination of the question but by overwhelming numbers or blood. David’s remedy was a short, sharp, decisive one. “Gird ye on every man his sword.” And it is difficult, for the sake of humanity, to say to which side in such a quarrel we should wish well. If the rich man succeed in civil war, he will bind the chain of degradation more severely and more surely for years, or ages, on the crushed serf. If the champions of popular rights succeed by the sword, you may then await in awe the reign of tyranny, licentiousness, and lawlessness. For the victory of the lawless, with the memory of past wrongs to avenge, is almost more sanguinary than the victory of those who have had power long, and whose power had been defied.

We find another cause in circumstances. Want and unjust exclusion precipitated David and his men into this rebellion. It is common enough to lay too much weight on circumstances. Nothing can be more false than the popular theory that ameliorated outward condition is the panacea for the evils of society. The Gospel principle begins from within, and works outward.

The world’s principle begins with the outward condition, and expects to influence inwardly. To expect that by changing the world without, in order to suit the world within, by taking away all difficulties and removing all temptations, instead of hardening the man within against the force of outward temptation - to adapt the lot to the man, instead of moulding the spirit to the lot, is to reverse the Gospel method of procedure. Nevertheless, even that favorite speculation of theorists, that perfect circumstances will produce perfect, character, contains a truth. Circumstances of outward condition are not the sole efficients in the production of character, but they are efficients which must not be ignored. Favorable condition will not produce excellence, but the want of it often hinders excellence. It is true that vice leads to poverty: all the moralizers tell us that, but it is also true that poverty leads to vice.

There are some in this world to whom, speaking humanly, social injustice and social inequalities have made goodness impossible. Take, for instance, the case of these bandits on Mount Carmel. Some of them were outlawed by their own crimes, but others doubtless by debts not willfully contracted - one at least, David, by a most unjust and unrighteous persecution. And these men, excluded, needy, exasperated by a sense of wrong, untaught outcasts, could you gravely expect from them obedience, patience, meekness, religious resignation? Yes, my brethren, that is exactly the marvellous impossibility people do most inconsistently expect; and there are no bounds to their astonishment if they do not get what they expect: Superhuman honesty from starving men, to whom life by hopelessness has become a gambler’s desperate chance! chivalrous loyalty and high forbearance from creatures to whom the order of society has presented itself only as an unjust system of partiality! We forget that forbearance and obedience are the very last and highest lessons learned by the spirit in its most careful training. By those unhallowed conventionalisms through which we, like heathens, and not like Christians, crush the small offender and court the great one - that damnable cowardice by which we banish the seduced and half admire the seducer - by which, in defiance of all manliness and all generosity, we punish the weak and tempted, and let the tempter go free: - by all these we make men and women outcasts, and then expect from them the sublimest graces of reverence and resignation!


II. The message of the Church to the man of wealth.

The message of the Church contains those principles of life which, carried out, would, and hereafter will, realize the Divine Order of Society. The revealed Message does not create the facts of our humanity - it simply makes them known. The Gospel did not make God our Father, it authoritatively reveals that He is so. It did not create a new duty of loving one another, it revealed the old duty which existed from eternity, and must exist as long as humanity is humanity. It was no “new commandment,” but an old commandment which had been heard from the beginning.

The Church of God is that living body of men who are called by Him out of the world, not to be the inventors of a new social system, but to exhibit in the world by word and life, chiefly by life, what Humanity is, was, and will be, in the idea of God. Now so far as the social economy is concerned, the revelations of the Church will coincide with the discoveries of a Scientific Political Economy. Political Economy discovers slowly the facts of the immutable laws of social well-being. But the living principles of those laws, which cause them to be obeyed, Christianity has revealed to loving hearts long before. The Spirit discovers them to the spirit. For instance, Political Economy, gazing on such a fact, as this of civil war, would arrive at the same principles which the Church arrives at. She too would say, Not selfishness, but love. Only that she arrives at these principles by experience, not intuition - by terrible lessons, not revelation - by revolutions, wars, and famines, not by spiritual impulses of charity.

And so because these principles were eternally true in humanity, we find in the conduct of Abigail towards David in this early age, not explicitly, but implicity, the very principles which the Church of Christ has given to the world; and more - the very principles which a sound political economy would sanction. In her reply to David we have the anticipation by a loving heart of those duties which selfish prudence must have taught at last.

1. The spiritual dignity of man as man. Recollect David was the poor man, but Abigail, the high-born lady, admits his worth: “The Lord will certainly make my lord a sure house; because my lord fighteth the battles of the Lord, and evil hath not been found in thee all thy days.” Here is a truth revealed to that age. Nabal’s day, and the day of such as Nabal, is past; another power is rising above the horizon. David’s cause is God’s cause. Worth does not mean what a man is worth - you must find some better definition than that.

Now this is the very truth revealed in the Incarnation. David, Israel’s model king, the king by the grace of God, not by the conventional rules of human choice - is a shepherd’s son. Christ, the King who is to reign over our regenerated humanity, is humbly born - the poor woman’s Son. That is the Church’s message to the man of wealth, and a message which it seems has to be learned afresh in every age. It was new to Nabal. It was new to the men of the age of Christ. In His day they were offended in Him, because He was humbly born. “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” It is the offense now. They who retain those superstitious ideas of the eternal superiority of rank and wealth have the first principles of the Gospel yet to learn. How can they believe in the Son of Mary? They may honor Him with the lip, they deny him in His brethren. Whoever helps to keep alive that ancient lie of upper and lower, resting the distinction not on official authority or personal worth, but on wealth and title, is doing his part to hinder the establishment of the Redeemer’s kingdom.

Now the Church of Christ proclaims that truth in baptism. She speaks of a kingdom here in which all are, as spirits, equal. She reveals a fact. She does not affect to create the fact. She says - not hypothetically, “This child may be the child of God if prevenient grace has taken place, or if hereafter he shall have certain feelings and experiences;” nor, “Hereby I create this child magically by supernatural power in one moment what it was not a moment before:” but she says, authoritatively, “I pronounce this child the child of God: the brother of Christ the First-born - the Son of Him who has taught us by His Son to call Him our Father, not my Father. Whatever that child may become hereafter in fact, he is now, by right of creation and redemption, the child of God. Rich or poor, titled or untitled, he shares the spiritual nature of the second Adam - the Lord from heaven.”

2. The second truth expressed by Abigail was the law of Sacrifice. She did not heal the grievance with smooth words. Starving men are not to be pacified by professions of good will. She brought her two hundred loaves, and her two skins of wine, her five sheep ready dressed, etc. A princely provision!

You might have said this was waste - half would have been enough. But the truth is, liberality is a most real economy. She could not stand there calculating the smallest possible expense at which the affront might be wiped out. True economy is to pay liberally and fairly for faithful service. The largest charity is the best economy. Nabal had had a faithful servant. He should have counted no expense too great to retain his services, instead of cheapening and depreciating them. But we wrong Abigail if we call this economy or calculation. In fact, had it been done on economical principles, it would have failed. Ten times this sum from Nabal would not have arrested revenge. For Nabal it was too late. Concessions extracted by fear only provoke exaction further. The poor know well what is given because it must be given, and what is conceded from a sense of justice. They feel only what is real. David’s men and David felt that these were not the gifts of a sordid calculation, but the offerings of a generous heart. And it won them - their gratitude - their enthusiasm - their unfeigned homage.

This is the attractive power of that great law, whose highest expression was the Cross. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.” Say what you will, it is not interest, but the sight of noble qualities and true sacrifice, which commands the devotion of the world. Yea, even the bandit and the outcast will bend before that as before a Divine thing. In one form or another, it draws all men, it commands all men.

Now this the Church proclaims as part of its special message to the rich. It says that the Divine Death was a Sacrifice. It declares that death to be the law of every life which is to be like His. It says that the law, which alone can interpret the mystery of life, is the self-sacrifice of Christ. It proclaims the law of His life to have been this: “For their sakes I devote (sanctify) Myself, that they also may be devoted through the truth.”

In other words, the self-sacrifice of the Redeemer was to be the living principle and law of the self-devotion of His people. It asserts that to be the principle which alone can make any human life a true life. “I fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His body’s sake, which is the Church.” We have petrified that sacrifice into a dead theological dogma, about the exact efficacy of which we dispute metaphysically, and charge each other with heresy. That Atonement will become a living fact only when we humbly recognize in it the eternal fact that sacrifice is the law of life. The very mockers at the crucifixion unwittingly declared the principle: “He saved others: himself He can not save.” Of course - how could He save himself who had to save others? You can only save others when you have ceased to think of saving your own soul; you can only truly bless when you have done with the pursuit of personal happiness. Did you ever hear of a soldier who saved his country by making it his chief work to secure himself? And was the Captain of our salvation to become the Saviour by contravening that universal law of sacrifice, or by obeying it?

Brother men, the early Church gave expression to that principle of sacrifice in a very touching way. They had all things in common. “Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.” They failed, not because they declared that, but because men began to think that the duty of sharing was compulsory. They proclaimed principles which were unnatural, inasmuch as they set aside all personal feelings, which are part of our nature too. They virtually compelled private property to cease, because he who retained private property when all were giving up was degraded, and hence became a hypocrite and liar, like Ananias.

But let us not lose the truth which they expressed in an exaggerated way: “Neither said any of them that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.” Property is sacred. It is private property; if it were not, it could not be sacrificed. If it were to be shared equally by the idle and the industrious, there could be no love in giving. Property is the rich man’s own. Nabal is right in saying, My bread - my water - my flesh. But there is a higher right which says, It is not yours. And that voice speaks to every rich man in one way or another, according as he is selfish or unselfish: coming as a voice of terror or a voice of blessing. It came to Nabal with a double curse, turning his heart into stone with the vision of the danger and the armed ranks of David’s avengers, and laying on David’s soul the sin of intended murder. It came to the heart of Abigail with a double blessing: blessing her who gave and him who took.

To the spirit of the Cross alone we look as the remedy for social evils. When the people of this great country, especially the rich, shall have been touched with the spirit of the Cross to a largeness of sacrifice of which they have not dreamed as yet, there will be an atonement between the Rights of Labor and the Rights of Property.

3. The last part of the Church’s message to the man of wealth touches the matter of rightful influence.

Very remarkable is the demeanor of David towards Nabal, as contrasted with his demeanor towards Abigail. In the one case, defiance, and a haughty self-assertion of equality; in the other, deference, respect, and the most eloquent benediction. It was not therefore against the wealthy class, but against individuals of the class, that the wrath of these men burned.

See, then, the folly and the falsehood of the sentimental regret that there is no longer any reverence felt towards superiors. There is reverence to superiors, if only it can be shown that they are superiors. Reverence is deeply rooted in the heart of humanity - you can not tear it out. Civilization - science - progress - only change its direction: they do not weaken its force. If it no longer bows before crucifixes and candles, priests and relics, it is not extinguished towards what is truly sacred and what is priestly in man. The fiercest revolt against false authority is only a step towards submission to rightful authority. Emancipation from false lords only sets the heart free to honor true ones. The free-born David will not do homage to Nabal. Well, now go and mourn over the degenerate age which no longer feels respect for that which is above it. But behold - David has found a something nobler than himself. Feminine charity - sacrifice and justice - and in gratitude and profoundest respect he bows to that. The state of society which is coming is not one of protection and dependence, nor one of mysterious authority, and blind obedience to it, nor one in which any class shall be privileged by Divine right, and another remain in perpetual tutelage; but it is one in which unselfish services and personal qualities will command, by Divine right, gratitude and admiration, and secure a true and spiritual leadership.

Oh, let not the rich misread the signs of the times, or mistake their brethren: they have less and less respect for titles and riches, for vestments and ecclesiastical pretensions, but they have a real respect for superior knowledge and superior goodness: they listen like children to those whom they believe to know a subject better than themselves. Let those who know it say whether there is not something inexpressibly touching and even humbling in the large, hearty, manly, English reverence and love which the working-men show towards those who love and serve them truly, and save them from themselves and from doing wrong. See how David’s feelings gush forth: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel which sent thee this day to meet me: and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with mine own hand.”

The rich and the great may have that love if they will.

To conclude. Doubtless David was wrong: he had no right even to redress wrongs thus; patience was his divinely appointed duty; and doubtless in such circumstances we should be very ready to preach submission and to blame David. Alas! we, the clergy of the Church of England, have been only too ready to do this: for three long centuries we have taught submission to the powers that be, as if that were the only text in Scripture bearing on the relations between the ruler and the ruled. Rarely have we dared to demand of the powers that be, justice; of the wealthy man and the titled, duties. We have produced folios of slavish flattery upon the Divine Right of Power. Shame on us! we have not denounced the wrongs done to weakness: and yet for one text in the Bible which requires submission and patience from the poor, you will find a hundred which denounce the vices of the rich - in the writings of the noble old Jewish prophets, that, and almost that only - that, in the Old Testament, with a deep roll of words that sound like Sinai thunders: and that in the New Testament in words less impassioned and more calmly terrible from the apostles and their Master: and woe to us in the great day of God, if we have been the sycophants of the rich instead of the redressers of the poor man’s wrongs - woe to us if we have been tutoring David into respect to his superior, Nabal, and forgotten that David’s cause, not Nabal’s, is the cause of God.